Despite the United States having one of the safest food supplies in the world, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year nearly 48 million people (roughly 1 in 6 Americans) are sickened, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die from preventable foodborne illnesses
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is intended to shift the Federal Drug Administration’s focus to better protect public health by preventing food safety issues rather than reacting to outbreaks. FSMA is a large piece of legislation intended to build a new proactive federal food safety system. It is comprised of seven parts:
- Accredited Third-Party Certification
- Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food
- Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals
- Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP)
- Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration
- Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food
- Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption
What is the Produce Safety Rule?
The “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption” is the Produce Safety Rule section. It establishes the first ever science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption.
The Produce Safety Rule is divided into seven parts:
- Training: Establishes training requirements for farm supervisors and personnel who handle produce
- Health and Hygiene: Growers, and their employees, must abide by certain hygienic practices, such as regular hand washing, to reduce the spread of contamination
- Agricultural Water: Growers must take steps, such as routine water testing, to ensure agricultural water is safe for its intended use
- Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin: Addresses the classification, treatment, and application of certain soil amendments, such as raw and composted manure
- Domesticated and Wild Animals: Requirements include taking measures to reduce risks associated with animals in and around produce fields
- Equipment, tools, and buildings: Sets standards for the maintenance of equipment, tools, and other food contact surfaces that come into contact with produce
- Sprouts: The rule establishes a separate set of standards for sprout producers. For more information, visit the Sprout Safety Alliance website
In addition to these standards, there are documentation requirements of certain activities to verify compliance with the rule.
To read the rule visit the Food and Drug Administration’s website.